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Instant analysis: Nats 3, Tigers 1

May 9, 2013, 2:49 AM EDT

USA Today Sports Images
Bryce Harper launched his 10th homer of the season in the fifth inning.

Game in a nutshell: It may have been delayed 25 hours by rain, but the opener of this big, interleague series didn't disappoint. Jordan Zimmermann and Anibal Sanchez went toe-to-toe, with Zimmermann out-dueling his right-hnaded counterpart thanks to seven innings of one-run ball. Bryce Harper drove in a pair of runs, one of them on a homer well into the right-field bleachers. Aggressive baserunning by Adam LaRoche — yes, Adam LaRoche — forced Torii Hunter into a throwing error and produced another run. Tyler Clippard fired every bullet he had at the fearsome Tigers lineup during a 34-pitch top of the eighth, somehow escaping without allowing a run. And Rafael Soriano finished it off for his 11th save in 12 tries, giving the Nationals their third straight victory … and first-ever in 20 starts against Sanchez.

Hitting highlight: Harper had been in a bit of a slump over his last eight games (3-for-26) and some of that may have beenRead more »

  1. Drew - May 9, 2013 at 2:51 AM

    Tiger, tiger burning bright …Not tonight!GYFNG!

  2. Gonat - May 9, 2013 at 2:52 AM

    That's the lowest runs scored by the Tigers since April 20th. They are a great offensive team and if RZ makes that one play, its still a W!

  3. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 9, 2013 at 2:52 AM

    go back to a pregame post from Wednesday I predicted a 6 game winning streak. i was close 5-1 in May.Now Dan do it again tomorrow.

  4. Dave - May 9, 2013 at 2:54 AM

    Okay, Julie Alexandria has been on the job for two weeks now. She needs to come up with questions that don't start with, "How great is it…?"What's the answer to that? Seven?

  5. Gonat - May 9, 2013 at 2:54 AM

    Untucked and feeling goooood!

  6. Eric - May 9, 2013 at 2:54 AM

    Wow… WOW! Incredible game. Well done fellas!

  7. ehay2k - May 9, 2013 at 2:54 AM

    Untucked in the airport!GYFNG!!

  8. MicheleS - May 9, 2013 at 2:55 AM

    WOOOOO HOOOOOOO

  9. Teddy Rochlis - May 9, 2013 at 2:55 AM

    looking good nats, let's get on a hot streak and retake the division

  10. Eric - May 9, 2013 at 2:56 AM

    Actually, I think Julie has been doing a great job, particularly in game.

  11. JaneB - May 9, 2013 at 2:56 AM

    We beat Anibel. And Omar didn't hurt us tonight, like he has in the past. And neither did Miggy or Prince. ALR is back in business and so is The Kid. All in all, a really good night. And congrats to Rick Eckstein, a new Dad.

  12. JaneB - May 9, 2013 at 2:56 AM

    Good for you ehay!

  13. SCNatsFan - May 9, 2013 at 2:58 AM

    Quality curly W. Jordan Z has a habit of making this team look real good.

  14. Dave - May 9, 2013 at 3:00 AM

    Julie's not bad, but I just know she knows enough about baseball to avoid that formulation. Maybe it takes me back too much to the days of DebbieT. It should be easier to come up with more game-specific questions than that. Harrumph. With that, and a brilliant Nats win, I go to bed.

  15. Gonat - May 9, 2013 at 3:01 AM

    No crooked number innings but that's how you beat great teams by piecing together a few runs by your offense coupled with a solid pitching performance by JZ.

  16. Gonat - May 9, 2013 at 3:02 AM

    JaneB said… We beat Anibel._____________________Yah, you can't say that often.

  17. johnny nats - May 9, 2013 at 3:03 AM

    "who could frame thy fearful symmetry?"Cabrerra is a beast. Good game. GYFNG

  18. David Proctor - May 9, 2013 at 3:04 AM

    Julie is good during her mid-game stuff, but her interviews are awful. In my opinion.

  19. Gonat - May 9, 2013 at 3:08 AM

    Since April 20th, the Tigers have scored an average of 6.7 runs per game which makes tonight all the more special.

  20. Nattering Nat - May 9, 2013 at 3:08 AM

    Great, classic game.Mark, kindly change your lead sentence–"didn't fail to disappoint" means it disappointed. You just mean it didn't disappoint, as indeed it didn't!

  21. Joe Seamhead - May 9, 2013 at 3:12 AM

    Listening to Johnson it sounds as if no Jayson Werth for a couple of days. Davey says he'll play Bernadina tomorrow.

  22. Gonat - May 9, 2013 at 3:12 AM

    Mark Z writes… Zimmermann now leads the NL with six wins, and his 1.59 ERA ranks third only to the Cardinals' Jake Westbook and the Mets' Matt Harvey________________________6-1 record now and a 1.59 ERA. Hard to believe 2 pitchers have better ERAs but that Matt Harvey is good and he is getting all the calls from the umps. JZ got screwed in 2 at-bats tonight.

  23. Drew - May 9, 2013 at 3:15 AM

    Stop the presses! Eury Perez hit a home run at Syracuse.Since the start of the 2011 season he had one homer in his last 267 minor league games.

  24. Gonat - May 9, 2013 at 3:15 AM

    Joe Seamhead said… Listening to Johnson it sounds as if no Jayson Werth for a couple of days. Davey says he'll play Bernadina tomorrow. May 08, 2013 11:12 PM ______________________________Bernadina with another key defensive play in the 9th!

  25. Gonat - May 9, 2013 at 3:16 AM

    Drew, Eury is having a great year so far. Was it an inside-the-parker?

  26. Drew - May 9, 2013 at 3:19 AM

    As for the instant analysis, the game did fail to disappoint.It was a dandy.

  27. Eric - May 9, 2013 at 3:23 AM

    So can someone explain the logic behind advancing the runner when the ball goes in the camera banks? Even if it means a run?

  28. Joe Seamhead - May 9, 2013 at 3:24 AM

    Gonat, a case of Davey knowing when to make a defensive replacement. Roger made that 9th inning catch, but not feeling very confident that Tyler makes that play.

  29. Joe Seamhead - May 9, 2013 at 3:27 AM

    The ball was effectively thrown out of the field of play allowing each runner a base.

  30. Nattering Nat - May 9, 2013 at 3:28 AM

    In low-scoring games against the best teams, the little things make all the difference. Tonight, (1) Span turns a double into a triple, so the Harper SF scores him, (2) LaRoche goes to third on a fly out to Hunter, scores on the error on the throw, (3) Desmond gets to a couple of grounders that could have eaten him up, and then who knows? Harper's HR was the only no-doubt run. Huge difference for them pitching ahead 2-1 and 3-1. All the little things they didn't do early in the season are back in synch, at least most of the time, now. And still not close to all cylinders hitting.

  31. Eric - May 9, 2013 at 3:28 AM

    Bernie was clutch there. Denard's our only other outfielder that gets that without injuring himself, IMO. Maybe Bryce.

  32. Eric - May 9, 2013 at 3:31 AM

    "The ball was effectively thrown out of the field of play allowing each runner a base."Right. I guess I worded that too specifically. Why isn't the ball just dead at that point and runners have to hold? Basically, what's the logic behind the rule?

  33. Eric - May 9, 2013 at 3:32 AM

    "And still not close to all cylinders hitting."That's the crazy thing!!

  34. Joe Seamhead - May 9, 2013 at 3:36 AM

    Eric,first, here is the rule:a runner advances:(f) Two bases, if a fair ball bounces or is deflected into the stands outside the first or third base foul lines; or if it goes through or under a field fence, or through or under a scoreboard, or through or under shrubbery or vines on the fence; or if it sticks in such fence, scoreboard, shrubbery or vines;(g) Two bases when, with no spectators on the playing field, a thrown ball goes into the stands, or into a bench (whether or not the ball rebounds into the field), or over or under or through a field fence, or on a slanting part of the screen above the backstop, or remains in the meshes of a wire screen protecting spectators. The ball is dead. When such wild throw is the first play by an infielder, the umpire, in awarding such bases, shall be governed by the position of the runners at the time the ball was pitched; in all other cases the umpire shall be governed by the position of the runners at the time the wild throw was made;APPROVED RULING: If all runners, including the batter-runner, have advanced at least one base when an infielder makes a wild throw on the first play after the pitch, the award shall be governed by the position of the runners when the wild throw was made.

  35. Joe Seamhead - May 9, 2013 at 3:37 AM

    Does that explain the logic of why?

  36. Eric - May 9, 2013 at 3:42 AM

    Interesting. I guess I find myself wondering why a dead ball results in awarded bases for the runner. Is it because a fielder could hypothetically kill as ball by throwing it out of play? Something like that?This is getting very esoteric, but I just wonder about this kind of thing.MASN is having as very interesting Harper segment right now.

  37. ehay2k - May 9, 2013 at 3:42 AM

    Eric, I think that the rule is there because if the camera well or dugout were not there, the ball would be in play, and the runner could make a decision to run or not. Similar to the man-made obstacle/impediment rule in golf perhaps?

  38. Joe Seamhead - May 9, 2013 at 3:49 AM

    I think that is a good take on the rule, ehay. If Espinosa had already been on 2nd the ump could have advanced him 2 bases, resulting in a second run scored.I only saw where ALR was, I assume Danny hadn't advanced to second on Hunter's throw, at least not before the ball went out of play, thus explaining why he ended up on third.

  39. Eric - May 9, 2013 at 3:49 AM

    Yeah that makes sense, ehay… Sorry don't mean to harp on this kind of thing… There's gotta be a reason why the ruling benefits the offense, not the defense…

  40. Manassas Nats' Fan - May 9, 2013 at 3:50 AM

    Zim is second in ERA he is ahead of Westbrook not behind him.

  41. David Proctor - May 9, 2013 at 3:53 AM

    Interesting that Rizzo said today that he approached Jordan Zimmermann's agent about a contract extension. They've talked about it before, but this is the first time we've heard about action.

  42. Eric - May 9, 2013 at 3:53 AM

    JZim is a beast. Damn.

  43. Section 222 - May 9, 2013 at 4:12 AM

    What a great game. Superb pitching from JZnn. And boy does he move the game along. And Harper truly gets situational hitting. Man on third, he's going to drive him in. But bases empty, sit on that breaking pitch and crush it. So cool to see that shot in person from behind the plate. Really nice catch by the Shark in the 9th.. I didn't even realize he was in the game. Nice move by Davey to put him in the right place at the right time. His defense has really paid dividends in the last few games. Finally, great to see Sofa in the house. We untucked with gusto, as did quite a few people in our section. We even made it onto the Jumbotron, after the untucking!

  44. Eric - May 9, 2013 at 4:17 AM

    Good game to catch 222!

  45. Alphabet Soup Erik - May 9, 2013 at 4:26 AM

    Heard Phil Wood mention this after the game…Jordan Zimmermann hasn't lost at home for over a calendar year (as of next start)…9-0…pretty darn good. Hopefully Stras and Gio are watching what it looks like to "pitch"…those two are just exhausting to watch lately. Work fast and throw strikes…should be pretty easy with their stuff yet they make it soooo complicated.

  46. Section 222 - May 9, 2013 at 4:31 AM

    ALR is on board!Dan Kolko ‏@masnKolko LaRoche joined Soriano's untuck club.“I can’t let my man do it and be on his own out there. If he’s doin it, I’m doin it. I’ll support him.”

  47. Sec. 3, My Sofa - May 9, 2013 at 4:33 AM

    Wait, what? Jumbotron? I did not notice that.Candygram!Good to see Deuces and a good game!

  48. baseballswami - May 9, 2013 at 4:38 AM

    And when Jordan does not get calls he does not react at all. He just throws another pitch. Stras and Gio can be a bit high strung. Great night at the game – surrounded by Tiger fans, but they were fun. No rain, a Nats win, JZ on the hill, Bryce bomb and a shark special. All the right ingredients. We sure do have that sac fly RBI thing down at this point. A run is a run.

  49. Whynat - May 9, 2013 at 4:41 AM

    Span untucked. Batboy untucked.

  50. Scott Margenau - May 9, 2013 at 5:52 AM

    Eric. Dead ball would benefit the defense, by effectively removing the option to advance on a error or such. Cheers.

  51. mick - May 9, 2013 at 11:05 AM

    J. Zim and Harper will be playing in the All Star game in July and Ziim should be the NL starter

  52. NatsJack in Florida - May 9, 2013 at 11:41 AM

    mick…remember…. the All Star game is at Citi Field this year. If young Mr. Harvey continues what he is doing I doubt Jordan gets the start.

  53. Eric - May 9, 2013 at 12:11 PM

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  54. Eric - May 9, 2013 at 12:12 PM

    Makes sense, thanks Scott.

  55. mick - May 9, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    I forgot about that Nats Jack… good point, oh well, maybe Zim pitches in 4th or 5th

  56. Sec. 3, My Sofa - May 9, 2013 at 4:59 PM

    Late to the question, but the simple answer, Eric, is so that the defense does not get the option of stopping play by simply throwing the ball out of bounds.

  57. Eric - May 9, 2013 at 5:18 PM

    Yeah, I think that makes the most sense (preventing an exploit).

Archives

NL EAST STANDINGS

W L GB
WASHINGTON 57 45 --
ATLANTA 57 48 1.5
MIAMI 51 53 7.0
NEW YORK 50 55 8.5
PHILADELPHIA 46 59 12.5
Through Sunday's games

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
MON: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
TUE: Nats at Marlins, 7:10 p.m.
WED: Nats at Marlins, 12:40 p.m.
THU: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
FRI: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SAT: Phillies at Nats, 7:05 p.m.
SUN: Phillies at Nats, 1:35 p.m.
Full season schedule

Mark joins Rob Carlin and Joe Orsulak every Thursday at 4 p.m. on Comcast SportsNet for a half-hour show on the Nats, Orioles and rest of MLB. Re-airs Thursdays at 11:30 p.m., Saturdays at 9 a.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m.

ON THE RADIO

As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2014 schedule (subject to change)...

MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 1:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.

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